What are waste words? Using words as this, that, there, and it too much can make your sentences weak. Or you could be a verbaholic abuser and use was far more than necessary. Here is an exaggerated example:

There was a lady named Cheasepai that was very old. She was this
librarian living in this place called Antaricaed. This place was cold
as the name suggested. Around there, things moved slowly. The chill
was deep in every person’s bones. But this old lady loved living there.
The reason it didn’t bother her was because she considered it home.

Although extreme and things repeat, you get the idea. The sentences are blah. Even if I use descriptive words, the sentences will still need tightening. A fun test among writers to check how “flabby” their sentences are structured can be found at The Writers Diet Test. One hundred words minimum are required with one thousand words being the maximum. If I continued writing in the same fashion, my fitness rating would display “Heart Attack” for overall score. And remember, don’t treat the test as gospel! The only purpose is to help a few writers realize their over usage of waste words. Also, keep in mind these words can still be used with moderation.

We can clean the exaggerated paragraph by removing the waste words and combining a few sentences. Such as this:

A chill moved deep into people’s bones living in Antaricaed, causing
life to move at the pace of a snail. But the gray haired librarian, Cheasepai,
didn’t mind. She lived there since childhood.

Notice I removed a few things. For example, “old” and “cold”. Why? “Chill” already states the town is cold, no need to repeat. And since the lady is described with gray hair, the sentence indicates she is old. Don’t be redundant in a paragraph because these type of wasted words won’t be detected by a cute test!

Have fun!

P.D. Pabst
Writer of YA


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